Freddie Highmore Freddie Highmore

After an exhaustive search for a young man to take over the iconic role immortalized by Anthony Perkins in Alfred Hitchcock's 1960 masterpiece Psycho, A&E's new prequel series, Bates Motel, has cast its Norman Bates.

The part has gone to 20-year-old English lad Freddie Highmore, who first gained notoriety opposite Johnny Depp in 2004's Finding Neverland. Depp and Highmore re-teamed a year later on Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, with Highmore playing lucky Golden Ticket winner Charlie Bucket.

Earlier this year, Bates Motel executive producer Carlton Cuse told me that his Norman might not be what fans expect. Cuse isn't looking for someone to imitate Perkins, as this series will offer an original, multi-layered take on Hitchcock's classic. Vera Farmiga (Up in the Air) will play Norman's mother, Norma Louise Bates, who Cuse described to me as "very hot." (Certainly hotter than the skeleton who played the part in Psycho!)  

The series is expected to begin production by early October for a 2013 premiere.

Subscribe to TV Guide Magazine now!